Friday, January 6, 2012

Le temps retrouvé

Le temps retrouvé

I bumped into Le Baron de Charlus the other day. He was with Jupien, as usual, his hairdresser, lover and companion for all these past years.

“I’m not deaf, Jupien,” Charlus said.

“Just look who we’ve got here, it’s Marcel. See how much he’s matured? He’s not a naïve little chicken freshman anymore, is she?”

Charlus smiled, taking me by the arm, as we strolled down West Chimes past the Highland Coffee House.

“He thinks I’m losing my mind, Marcel. But of course I’m not—I lost it simply years ago when I first met you. That loving humid evening over there in the old decaying Greek Amphitheater. Remember?”

Charlus nodded down the street, past the Infirmary, down the path, down thru the gnarled magnolias with their sad dangling Spanish Moss hairdos.

“See that advertisement in the window?” he said, pausing, both of us stopped in front of the window, as he pointed at it. We both stood there looking at the ad. A rush of memories oozing in the night.

“It was like the same one at Avranches… No, at Balbec. When I met you the first time. Do you remember?”

(“Marcel!!! Marcel!!!”, shouts Proust’s grandmother.)

(“Your grandmother, Marcel. She looks rather worried, flustered and flabbergasted, the poor thing.” Charlus says this there on the resort beach, checking the boy out in his overly too-tight swimming suit.)

(“But we don’t care about old grandma—do we, my handsome little Marcel chicken dove, do we?)

(Pardon me, sir. But I adore her?)

(Monsieur, you’re still just a young, naïve young man. Use your youth to learn two things, First, refrain from displaying emotions that are best left unspoken. Second, don’t rush into answering questions before you’ve understood them. If you take these precautions, you will be saved from blurting out nonsense as if you were deaf. You look silly enough already with those sad heavy-lidded eyes drooping down from your once cute face, cruising down here in this ancient long-forgotten Forbidden Garden, my dear. Cruising for you know what. What brings you back here, after all these years, Marcel? We thought you bid adieu to Tiger Town simply years ago, my dear. Surely you're not going to bore us with another tiresome Novel?”)

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